Pinot Noir, originally from Burgundy, is the only red grape variety authorized in Alsace. Principally used in the production of light and fruity wines, Pinot Noir is vinified more and more commonly as a red grape, thus reviving an ancient tradition. Largely present in the AOC Alsace, it is also used for the production of Crémants d’Alsace blancs de noirs and Crémants Rosés.
Even though Alsace is known predominately for its white wines, there are numerous documents relating to the stocks of abbey cellars and to wine taxes raised by the Church of the Middle Ages, alluding to considerable quantities of red wine. Among the 40 grape varieties cultivated during this era, Pinot Noir figures most prominently. Surprisingly, a decline in production began at the end of the 16th Century and the only localities in Alsace to preserve the tradition of red wine were Ottrott, Saint Léonard, Boersch, Saint Hippolyte, Rodern and Marlenheim. What is today considered a novelty in the region is in reality a legacy of the past that is becoming increasingly successful.
Alsace Pinot Noir is a light, fresh wine revealing flavours of cherry, raspberry and blackberry, and soft tannins. It is most frequently aged in wooden barrels, producing a more complex and structured wine with more pronounced colour and flavours evocative of ripe fruits or leather.
Pinot Noir rosé (or light red), dry, delicately fruity and served chilled, is an excellent addition to rustic buffets and picnics featuring charcuterie, grilled meats and salads. Red Pinot Noir, with longer maceration and aged in wooden barrels, is a complex and balanced wine that has met with growing success. Red meats and game call for red Alsace Pinot Noirs revealing dark red colour and intense cherry flavours. Overall, Alsace Pinot Noir pairs well with white meats and poultry, certain cheeses, and because of its mellow tannins, can even accompany fish beautifully. International cuisines should not be overlooked as suitable partners: Middle Eastern and Moroccan dishes (hummuus, tabouleh, lamb tagine and couscous) are an excellent match for these wines, as are less sweet chocolate desserts and desserts based on red fruits or berries.
Medium, orbicular, dark green, thick, funnel-shaped, lightly bubbled. Medium serrated edges.
Small, cylindrical, compact
Small, spherical or slightly oval-shaped, bluish-black or dark purple. Thick skin, rich in colour compounds.
Pinot Noir is suited to temperate climates. Its true expression is revealed on clay-limestone soils. For more powerful wines, a combination of low yields, perfectly healthy conditions in the vineyard, good ripeness and careful vinification are required to draw out the full expression of this varietal’s fruit and elegance. The wines are seductive and much appreciated when enjoyed young, but some Pinot Noir wines show surprising ageing potential.